On October 4, James M. Kelcourse, a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, visited Gary Satow's AP United States Government & Politics class to speak to students about government and how the legislative process works. A proponent of civics education for students, Representative Kelcourse provided students with just that: a look at the workings of state government, the campaign process, and important voting issues.
Mr. Satow said, “We frequently emphasize in our class the importance of government at all levels, including the state level where Representative Kelcourse is an invaluable resource.”
Representative Kelcourse, who is involved with Governor’s athletics as a coach of the football team, visited Mr. Satow's class last year as well. "I enjoy coming to Governor’s because the students, faculty, and staff are a great group of people to work with. The school is a wonderful learning environment and I am grateful to be a part of it," said Representative Kelcourse.
He spoke to students about the legislative process and, more specifically, crafting legislation to remedy issues that face his constituents. Representative Kelcourse stressed to students that he considers constituent services the most important part of his job. In addition to his state house office in Boston, Representative Kelcourse has a district office in Newburyport so that his constituents can easily visit or make an appointment to speak with him.
The difference between state senate and the state house of representatives was another topic of discussion for the class. Representative Kelcourse explained the process of campaigning and campaign fundraising to students; in other words, what he has to do in order to run for a seat in the House of Representatives.
Students were given an assignment to pick one of the three questions which will be on the ballot in the upcoming midterm elections. Students were asked to define the issue, find out what both sides of the argument are, who the interest groups involved are, and what position public officials have taken on the issue. Mr. Satow said, “It is exciting for students to be able to engage with and ask questions of an elected leader with real authority. In short, it connects them with government in a way that we couldn't otherwise.”
Representative Kelcourse represents the First Essex District consisting of Amesbury, Newburyport, and Salisbury. A former Amesbury City Councilor, he was elected as a Republican in November 2014.